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Construction crews continue to work on the recruiting room, which will become one of the first places prospective FAU players see when they visit campus. ( photo)


Room to recruit

Recruiting room and will give prospective players a chance to be immersed in the culture of FAU football.

Originally published on 8/8/2011

by Chuck King

It's a room that most FAU fans will likely never see, but for the football program it could be one of the most important facets of the new on-campus stadium.

Located on the ground floor in the southwest corner underneath the west bleachers the recruiting room will be where many of the high school players who go on to play for Florida Atlantic get their first taste of FAU football.

“That's going to be the focal point of our game day recruiting, but obviously the stadium itself is going to take a much higher level of scrutiny and a sense of awe,” FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said. “As game day counts down we'll have our ambassadors and our freshmen football players – those that do not dress for the game - to meet the prospects that come in the prospect gates.”

The recruiting room is a 4,4000 square foot open lounge-type space that will welcome high school players and their parents or guests on both official and unofficial visits.

It will have food, a bar for adults, multiple televisions, FAU memorabilia, tables, chairs and perhaps even couches.

The recruiting room also has an adjacent kitchenette for preparing or reheating food, and its own restroom facilities.

“An hour before kickoff we'll have that recruiting room open and available,” Schnellenberger said. “The aesthetics are going to be outstanding. The pictures and the history of our program will be highlighted and illustrated. There's going to be cheerleaders and other members of the team in there before, at half time and after the game.”

In past seasons the Owls had been reticent to show recruits their Lockhart Stadium home. Essentially a rundown soccer stadium some 20 minutes from campus, even when the Owls did bring players to Lockhart, they struggled to keep track of them once inside the stadium.

Making matters worse, many of the players from talent-rich Broward County already played their high school games in that same stadium, so they did not view a college program that played in the same stadium as a step up.

“It was  mixed bag when you were at Lockhart,” FAU recruiting coordinator and defensive coordinatior Kurt VanValkenburgh said. “You wanted to meet them, you wanted them to come watch you play, but at the same time you were very leery of showing that facility. This will change all that.”

FAU brought more than 100 players to see its games at Lockhart last season. That number should increase dramatically this season.

“I think you are going to see more numbers and I think you are going to see more upper level players,” Van Valkenburgh said.

NCAA rules allow FAU to give each prospect three free tickets to each game. High school players can request tickets through the coach who is recruiting their area.

The recruiting room's location – right down the hall from the coaches' locker room – will make it easy for the coaches to mingle with players.

“You could sell a program for so long on what we were doing and how we were developing, then once you got to a certain spot it had to show you were going to the next step – and that next step was missing for a while,” Van Valkenburgh said. “Now the next step is back there again.”

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Breakdown Box

What They're Working On This Week

The Cummings-Balfour Beatty crews will begin to add the drop ceiling panels in the press box tower and start turning on lights that go in ceiling tiles, allowing them to get rid of more of the temporary lights. In the locker rooms they will also begin installing lockers and hope to finish tiling the bathrooms.

Fast Facts

  • On non-football days, FAU plans to rent the recruiting room to local businesses as a banquet facility.
  • The room has space for at least 10 tables that sit eight people apiece while keeping the other side of the room filled with lounge chairs.
  • There will be about 1,000 square feet of tile around the bar. The remainder of the room will be carpeted.
  • Wood paneling will adorn the wall behind the bar area, with more paneling scattered throughout the room.

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